Adobe announced yesterday that a major update to Creative Cloud has been released. Now, Adobe users who want to use the newest versions of Creative Suite apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Muse, and Dreamweaver will have to pay for a monthly subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud. Let's take a look at what Creative Cloud (CC) offers.
Adobe promises hundreds of features in new versions of their apps, including Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Adobe Muse CC, Dreamweaver CC, and more. Here are some of the goods coming with your upgrade to CC:
- New desktop capabilities: The Creative Cloud app for desktop allows you to keep your Adobe projects in sync and organized
- Sync your application settings: Creative Cloud les you sync your application settings like presets, brushes, and libraries across your devices – even between Macs and PCs
- Shake reduction for Photoshop: Upload a blurry image to Photoshop and the app will make the photo clearer by determining the blur pattern
- Smart sharpen for Photoshop: Choose the subject of your photo, and sharpen just that area of the image, leaving items in the background soft
- Improved enlargements for Photoshop: A new intelligent upsampling algorithm lets you enhance low-res photos for printing, or blow up higher-resolution images into large posters or billboards
- Adobe Camera Raw 8 features updates from Lightroom 5: Features like radial filters, straightening of distorted photos, and a new, non-destructive healing brush are available in Creative Cloud
- Integration with Behance: With a CC subscription you can now publish your portfolio, follow other users, publish works-in-progress, and solicit feedback from the Behance community
- A Behance Prosite: You can take advantage of Behance's Prosite features and create professional-looking personal websites in minutes
- The Adobe Kuler iPhone app: Now share your color themes and explore thousands of others' available on the Kuler website. When you sync your favorite themes they’ll be accessible immediately in Illustrator CC
- Updated Digital Publishing Suite: Single Edition extends InDesign CC, allowing you to create iPad apps without writing code
These updates are now available to all Creative Cloud members. For enterprise and education customers, updates should be available on June 21, and government customers can expect to see the updates in July. In the future, Adobe plans to add file syncing for desktop, featuring shared folders; Typekit fonts for desktop; new Photoshop technology that makes it easier to go from static visual design to responsive HTML5 and CSS layouts; and a Creative Cloud app for iOS.
If you're a new Adobe user, a complete Creative Cloud subscription will cost you $49.99 per month with a one-year contract. Adobe is offering current users who sign up for Creative Cloud by July 31, 2013 a discount for their first year. For users of CS3 and above, a complete plan costs $29.99/month; for CS6 users, the plan costs $19.99/month, both with one-year contracts. You can also purchase a single-app plan for applications like Photoshop. This will cost new users $19.99/month with an annual contract, and current Adobe users who sign up by July 31, 2013 $9.99/month for their first year. Adobe also offers students and teachers a plan for $19.99/month with an annual contract, if they sign up by June 25, 2013.
According to Photo Rumors, Adobe is considering lowering the cost of licensing, possibly because of customer backlash. Rumor has it that Adobe will offer Photoshop-only subscriptions for $9.99/month and full CC subscriptions with three-year contracts. The subscription will include access to a permanent copy of CS6 after three years and Adobe promises to continually update CS6 to support future file and camera types.
Adobe Customers Lash Out Against High Costs
While the change will certainly increase productivity for power users and enterprise clients, many non-professional users are outraged by the steep price increase and subscription-based licensing. Seeking more affordable access to Adobe's products, 32,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking Adobe to eliminate the mandatory subscription model for Creative Cloud. And according to a CNET survey done with Jeffries, 76% of readers said they plan to continue using CS6, without updates, and never move to Creative Cloud.
The update to a subscription-based service is a sign that the company is catering toward users who can provide Adobe a "continuous income stream," as Lori Grunin suggests in CNET. "I remember when I first started covering the company I asked a representative why Photoshop was so expensive. The gist of the response: the company wanted only professional customers for the product, and the high price acted as a filter. Creative Cloud is Filter 2.0," Grunin said.
Is Creative Cloud a Smart Move for Adobe?
According to Amadou Diallo, writing at Forbes, Creative Cloud brings Adobe the obvious upside of a userbase tied to a renewable subscription plan, guaranteeing a steady revenue stream. The plan, though, is risky for Adobe, as the price hikes may turn off non-professional users. Diallo quotes Scott Morris, Adobe’s Sr. Marketing Director for Creative Cloud: “We are taking a risk. We’re doing something that is disruptive to a very mature business.”
Does Creative Cloud offer enough innovative features to make it worth customers' money? Currently, Creative Cloud only offers 20GB of storage space, a common feature free to many Dropbox users (and far from Flickr's 1TB photo storage offering). Typekit fonts and increased access to pro Behance features are also not exactly going to make Adobe users drool. One thing Creative Cloud does offer, however, is more horse power for your tablet and phone. On mobile devices, Adobe will allow computationally expensive actions such as Photoshop's new de-blurring technology to run on Adobe's servers instead of draining your machine's resources. For power users constantly on the go, this could be the deal breaker that drives them to make the CC switch.
Do you think you'll upgrade to Creative Cloud or will you stick with your desktop version of Creative Suite?